Meal Ideas 01 November 2018

8 Simple Small Plates for Holiday Entertaining

(Family Features) For holiday parties of any size, tasty appetizers and starters are menu must-haves. While the main course roasts and before dessert is served, guests may flock to the table for snacks and small plates to keep cravings at bay.

When pre-dinner hunger strikes at your holiday gathering, be the center of attention with quick, delicious and simple appetizers that deliver exactly what your guests crave. One way to be the star of your holiday soiree is with Litehouse’s rich and flavorful Simply Artisan Reserve blue cheese and gorgonzola center cuts. Whether the foundation of a delicious cheese plate or crumbled in a recipe – such as one of these eight apps – it’s a win-win solution.

Find more holiday solutions and appetizer recipes at litehousefoods.com.

  1. Pear Obatzda

    Traditionally served with fresh pretzels, this 15-minute Obatzda recipe is the perfect dip for the snack table. The savory taste of pear can keep the whole party satisfied. 

  1. Steak Crostini

    With appetizers, the name of the game is providing quick bites that make for easy eating. Look no further than bite-sized Steak Crostini served with blue cheese and crackers. 

  1. Grilled Raspberry, Basil and Blue Cheese Sandwich

    Handheld nibbles go a long way when entertaining a crowd, which is why sandwiches are an obvious solution. Go for sourdough bread and melty cheese like mozzarella and Litehouse Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese to make this appetizer a snap. 

  1. Bacon Blue Cheese and Mac

    This mac and cheese recipe can help please guests of all ages, but there’s just one problem: it’ll be gone quicker than you think.

  

  1. Gorgonzola, Grape and Honey Crostini

    A quick and easy appetizer, this crostini recipe is perfect for entertaining guests because there is minimal prep involved. Gorgonzola, juicy grapes and sweet honey converge for a delightful snack. 

  1. Blue Cheese, Pomegranate and Quinoa Caviar

    If you’re going for classy without all the hassle, 5 minutes is all you need. This quinoa caviar recipe comes together in almost no time by incorporating blue cheese and pomegranate for a decadent starter.  

  

  1. Figgy Blue Cheese Bacon Bites

    Guests at holiday parties typically crowd the kitchen anyway, but blue cheese and fig cookies wrapped in bacon can make it hard for even the most patient eaters to stay away. 

  1. Harvest Salad

    For those trying to save room for the main course, a light salad is a great option. Freshen up a standard salad with sliced apple and pear and tangy Simply Artisan Reserve Gorgonzola Cheese.

Source: Litehouse

Kids 03 September 2018

Pack a Healthier Lunchbox this School Year

(Family Features) When school is in session, it's the perfect time to renew your family's healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.

While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids' brains charged all day.

Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.

Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.

To find your lunchbox inspiration and make the promise, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.

Rainbow Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 2 red mini sweet peppers, sliced
  • 1 mandarin, peeled and segmented
  • 1 kiwi, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes
  • 1 large spinach wrap
  • 1 tablespoon hummus
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 ounces low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped
  1. Assemble two lunchboxes each with half of the peppers, mandarin, kiwi, snap peas, blueberries and grapes.
  2. Lay wrap on flat surface. Spread with hummus and top with cheese, turkey and spinach. Roll up tightly and slice into 1-inch thick rounds. Add half to each lunchbox.

Black Bean Empanadas

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings 6

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 mini sweet peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 12 frozen empanada discs, thawed
  • 3/4 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • 6 guacamole minis
  • 6 packages crispy fruit
  1. In skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add peppers, onions and tomatoes. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Add black beans and taco seasoning. Cook 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Heat oven to 375 F.
  3. Lay empanada dough out on parchment-lined baking sheet. Fill with black bean filling and 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold dough over filling to create pocket. Use fork to press down sides to seal. Brush with egg whites. Repeat with remaining dough, filling, cheese and egg whites.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Serve two empanadas with guacamole, for dipping, and crispy fruit on side.

Source: Produce for Kids

Healthy 05 February 2019

New Year, New Family Habits: Simple ideas to make healthy eating easier

(Family Features) When your family is transitioning back into a regular routine in the new year, it’s the perfect time to recommit to healthy eating habits throughout the day. Getting the whole family on board may be easier than you think – just keep the focus on flavor and fun.

If you’re short on ideas to jumpstart better family eating, try these tips:

Keep it simple. Busy families often rely on the convenience of boxed meals, but you can get the same easy, delicious meal in a much healthier way. Everything cooks in one pot for easy clean-up, and this Cheeseburger Mac recipe swaps ground beef for leaner ground turkey. Not only is this an easy weeknight dinner, but leftovers can be packed in a thermos for lunch on chilly days.

Have fun. Try using creative shapes, textures and colors to make mealtime and lunchboxes more fun. Use cookies cutters to easily create butterflies, flowers, dinosaurs and more. Allow your kids to get involved in packing their own lunchboxes or helping with a meal. If your kids have a love of space or are learning about it in school, this bento box is definitely out of this world. Grapes create the dark backdrop while Swiss cheese is the perfect place for a moon landing. Clementine crescent moons and mini sweet pepper planet rings round out the meal.

Make a family promise. To keep the momentum going, rely on a resource like the Power Your Lunchbox Promise website, which offers everything from healthy lunchbox ideas to after-school snacks and dinners. All meal ideas have been approved by a registered dietitian, meet USDA guidelines and are kid-friendly. What’s more, for every Power Your Lunchbox Promise made on the website, health-conscious companies supporting the initiative will make a $1 donation to Feeding America's programs that support families and children. Learn more at poweryourlunchbox.com.

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Cheeseburger Mac

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1          pound lean ground turkey
  • 1          small onion, finely chopped
  • 1          cup mini sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons paprika
  • 1          teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2    cups water
  • 1          cup milk
  • 3          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2    cups whole-grain dry macaroni
  • 1          cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  1. In large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil. Add turkey, onion and peppers. Cook 7-10 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through.
  2. In small bowl, mix paprika, sugar, salt and chili powder. Add to turkey and stir. Add water, milk, tomato paste and pasta. Mix well. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and top with cheese.

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Space Exploration Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1/2       cup red seedless grapes
  • 1          whole-wheat sandwich round
  • 2          slices low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
  • 1          slice Swiss cheese
  • 1/2       slice low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1          clementine, peeled and segmented
  • 3          mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings
  • 1          package freeze-dried fruit
  1. Add grapes to bottom of large section of bento box to create space background. Place bottom of sandwich round on top, add turkey and sandwich round top.
  2. Lay Swiss cheese on cutting board. Using small bowl or other round object, cut into circle. Place on top of sandwich to create moon.
  3. Lay cheddar cheese on cutting board. Using small star cookie cutter, cut out stars. Add to space around moon.
  4. Pair with clementine “crescent moons,” pepper “planet rings” and freeze-dried fruit.

Source: Produce for Kids

Holiday 09 November 2018

Freshen Up Holiday Entertaining

Add tasty, crunchy grapes to seasonal dishes

(Family Features) The holiday season is typically marked by gatherings of friends and family. Whether you’re hosting overnight guests, drop-in visitors or an important seasonal meal, taking a fresh approach to the menu can make the get-together more special.

As you prepare for the festivities, consider recipes that feature healthy ingredients such as versatile California grapes, which come in three vibrant colors – red, green and black – and can add a palate-pleasing crunch and plenty of taste to everything from main dishes to sides and even desserts. Heart-healthy grapes are also perfect on their own as a snack and their natural beauty can help enhance any table as an edible garnish or fresh centerpiece.

Using grapes as a featured ingredient in your holiday dishes can provide a fresh twist on seasonal dishes, such as this Grape Dutch Baby or these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Balsamic Glaze. For dessert, use the natural sweetness of grapes to create a smooth Grape Caramel Sauce that can be served as a topping for ice cream or other seasonal desserts.

Seasonal Entertaining with Grapes

While the beautiful, vibrant colors of grapes can add visual interest to recipes, they can also serve a variety of purposes when hosting:

  • Grapes can make for easy decorations when placed in bowls, on platters or draped from a cake plate.
  • Grapes can be “frosted” with sugar, spices and chopped nuts then served as a finger food or used as a garnish to decorate cakes, cookies, puddings, mousses and other seasonal desserts. Simply dip grape clusters in liquid gelatin then roll in your desired mixture.
  • Grapes make for a quick and easy hostess gift. Wrap multi-colored grape clusters in tissue paper then place them in a basket or tin tied with ribbon.

Find more holiday recipes at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes and Balsamic Glaze

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1          cup red California grapes
  • 2          tablespoons ready-to-use balsamic glaze
  1. Heat oven to 450° F. 
  2. On baking sheet, toss sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, until sprouts are well-coated. Roast until deep golden brown, about 17-20 minutes, turning sprouts halfway through roasting. Stir in grapes and roast 3-5 minutes. Transfer to bowl and drizzle with glaze or drizzle platter with glaze and pile sprouts on top.

Nutritional information per serving: 150 calories; 3 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (42% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 30 mg sodium; 4 g fiber.
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Grape Caramel Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes              
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          pound green or red California grapes, divided
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4       cup sugar
  • 1/4       cup water
  • 1/3       cup heavy cream (optional)
  • large pinch of salt
  • ice cream
  1. In blender or food processor, combine 12 ounces grapes with lemon juice and puree. Set aside. Coarsely chop remaining grapes.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine sugar and water then bring to boil, stirring a few times. Simmer without stirring, brushing down sides of pot with brush dipped in water if crystals start forming. When mixture has turned deep, golden brown, remove from heat and whisk in pureed grapes until smooth sauce has formed. Turn on heat and simmer until mixture has reduced by one-third and forms smooth caramel sauce. Whisk in cream and salt; stir in chopped grapes and serve over ice cream.

Nutritional information per serving of sauce: 200 calories; 40 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (22% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (14% calories from saturated fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
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Grape Dutch Baby

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 3          large eggs
  • 2/3       cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3       cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2       teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 5          tablespoons unsalted
  • butter, divided
  • 2          cups red California
  • grapes, halved
  • 2          tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/8       teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Put large (10-inch) cast-iron or ovenproof skillet in oven.
  2. With electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs until frothy then beat in flour, milk, vanilla and salt, and beat until smooth, about 1 minute (batter will be thin). Remove skillet from oven and add 2 tablespoons butter, swirling to cover pan. Pour in batter and return to oven. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 14-19 minutes.
  3. While pancake is baking, in another skillet over high heat, melt remaining butter and add grapes, brown sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Cook until grapes are heated through and sugar has melted. Spoon grapes over pancake, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve. 

Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 6 g protein; 22 g carbohydrates; 18 g fat (58% calories from fat); 10 g saturated fat (32% calories from saturated fat); 180 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Snacks 14 August 2018

Sweet, Simple After-School Snacking

(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.

Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.

Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.

Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.

Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.

This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.

Find more information and snack ideas at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
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Grape Smoothie Bowl

Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2       avocado
  • 2          medium bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1          cup packed baby spinach
  • 2          cups green California grapes, divided
  • 1          cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1          piece fresh ginger (1-inch length), peeled and sliced (optional)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1          tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons toasted coconut chips
  1. In blender, combine avocado, bananas, spinach, 1 cup grapes, almond milk, ginger and salt; blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls. Halve remaining grapes and place on top of smoothie bowls along with chia seeds and coconut chips.

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Meal Ideas 25 June 2018

Good-for-You Meals with Grape Taste

(Family Features) When it comes to balancing heart-healthy meals with appealing flavors, it’s important to lean on nutritious ingredients that pack mouthwatering taste. For example, grapes are a delicious yet subtle way to incorporate a little something extra into your diet while adding a juicy burst of flavor.

Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – can be enjoyed as a ready-to-eat, on-the-go food anytime and anywhere. Grapes are also a healthy choice, as they’re a natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, and contain no fat and virtually no sodium.

Because of their versatility, heart-healthy grapes can also be used as an ingredient to add fresh appeal, vibrant color and a light touch of sweetness to almost any dish, like Roasted Cod with Fennel and Grapes or Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Grapes. For something quick and nutritious featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, try this Vegetarian Poke Bowl with tofu, fresh grapes, avocado and crunchy, raw beets and carrots.

Grape Goodness for Healthy Aging

In addition to helping maintain heart health, grapes may also play a role in healthy aging. A review of the science linking the consumption of grapes to health highlights grapes’ potential to impact many areas of health, according to research published in “Grapes and Health: A Monograph.” The evidence that grapes support heart health is well-established, and emerging research in other areas of health suggests that grapes’ ability to promote antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities at the cellular level may also play a protective role in eye, brain and joint health, among others.

Find more recipes to make healthy eating easy at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

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Vegetarian Poke Bowl

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 5          cups cooked brown or white jasmine rice
  • 2          packages (6 ounces each) extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 2          cups red California grapes, halved
  • 1          avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1          large golden beet, peeled and shredded
  • 1          large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 2          scallions, thinly sliced
  • sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
  • 6          ounces light Asian ginger-sesame salad dressing
  1. Divide rice between four bowls and arrange tofu, grapes, avocado, beets and carrots on top. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds; serve with dressing.

Nutritional information per serving: 620 calories; 19 g protein; 101 g carbohydrates; 17 g fat (25% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 450 mg sodium; 11 g fiber.

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Roasted Cod with Fennel and Grapes

Prep time: 10 minutes            
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          pound cod loin, cut into four equal pieces
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2       teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4       teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1          tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon orange juice
  • 1          tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1          teaspoon honey
  • 1          tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1          medium fennel bulb, fronds removed, chopped and reserved
  • 1          cup red California grapes, halved
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Arrange cod pieces in baking dish.
  2. In small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with lemon juice, orange zest, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Spoon mixture onto cod in equal amounts. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached.
  3. While cod is baking, in small bowl, combine remaining olive oil, remaining salt, pepper, vinegar, orange juice, shallot, coriander, honey and oregano; set aside. Halve and core fennel bulb then thinly slice and place in separate bowl. Add grapes and dressing; toss to combine.
  4. Serve cod topped with fennel and grape salad. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 19 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat (36% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 45 mg cholesterol; 240 mg sodium; 2 g fiber.

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Spaghetti Squash with Pesto and Grapes

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          large spaghetti squash
  • 1/3       cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2       cup chopped walnuts, divided
  • 2          cloves garlic
  • 2          cups packed basil leaves
  • 1          cup packed arugula
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1          teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3       cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1          cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2    cups red California grapes, halved
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Using fork, poke shallow holes in skin of squash then brush with 1 tablespoon oil and place it, cut-side down, in rimmed baking dish. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
  2. To make pesto: In food processor, process 1/4 cup walnuts, garlic, basil, arugula, lemon juice and lemon zest until well chopped. Add remaining olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper; process until well blended.
  3. Once squash is done baking, remove from oven. Cool squash 5-10 minutes then, using fork, scrape inside flesh of squash, removing “spaghetti,” and place it in large bowl. Add pesto and beans to cooked squash and toss gently with tongs to combine. Divide equally into six bowls and top each with 1/4 cup grapes and 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts.

Nutritional information per serving: 290 calories; 7 g protein; 24 g carbohydrates; 20 g fat (62% calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 5 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.

Source:  California Table Grape Commission

Appetizers & Sides 05 October 2017

Excellent Entertaining

Elegant ideas for a meal worth celebrating

(Family Features) Delighting guests in unexpected ways is the hallmark of exceptional entertaining. With a little creative flair, you can elevate your menu to impress guests with every course.

A savory appetizer is set off beautifully by fresh, sweet grapes in this Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini. Festive, bright and refreshing, grapes are a versatile ingredient that take dishes to the next level, making them ideal for special occasions.

Not only are grapes a smart choice to keep on hand for healthy snacking and everyday eating, the vibrant colors and flavors bring extra life to a basic protein. For a unique twist on a main dish, try dressing up chicken with an elegant addition like fresh grapes, as in these Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes.

The secret to a winning dessert is presentation, and the vibrant colors of red, green or black grapes lend just the right look to these tasty Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes. What’s more, the juicy sweetness offsets the tartness of the lemon for an explosion of flavor perfection.

A Fresh Approach to Décor

Not only do fresh grapes’ lively flavors make for exceptional dishes, their vibrant colors can also enhance your table in other ways. Lend natural beauty to your decor while providing your loved ones with a healthy snack option with these creative ideas:

  • Arrange grapes in bowls, on platters or draped from a cake plate for attractive and edible centerpieces.
  • Dress snacking grapes up for the occasion by dipping clusters in liquid gelatin. Roll them in sugar, spices and finely chopped nuts to make a “frosted” finger food with a hint of crunch.
  • Colorful grapes lend a pretty pop when used as a garnish to decorate serving plates.

Plan your next special occasion with the host of recipes at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

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Grape and Goat Cheese Crostini

Serves: 8

  • 2          cups quartered green, black or red California grapes (or a mixture)
  • 2          teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2          teaspoons honey
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16        baguette slices, thinly cut on diagonal
  • 8          ounces fresh goat cheese
  1. In medium bowl, combine grapes, lemon juice, honey, thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Spread each baguette with goat cheese and top with grape mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 9 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 8 g fat (36 percent calories from fat); 4.5 g saturated fat (20 percent calories from saturated fat); 15 mg cholesterol; 340 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

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Mini Pavlovas with Lemon Cream and Grapes

Serves: 6

  • 4          large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 2          teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3       cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3       cup lemon curd
  • 1 1/2    cups halved California grapes
  • chopped smoked or tamari almonds (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. With electric mixer on medium speed, in large bowl, beat egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. On low speed, add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until meringue forms stiff peaks. Whisk in cornstarch and vanilla.
  2. Divide meringue into six 4-inch circles on baking sheet. With large spoon, make indentations in middle of each. Place baking sheet in oven and lower temperature to 300° F. Bake 30 minutes then turn off oven and leave baking sheet inside another 30 minutes. To serve, whip cream to soft peaks and stir in lemon curd. Dollop onto meringues and top with grapes. Garnish with almonds, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 4 g protein; 58 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (31 percent calories from fat); 8 g saturated fat (20 percent calories from saturated fat); 55 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium.

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Seared Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Artichokes

Serves: 4

  • 2          boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), butterflied lengthwise into 4 cutlets
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2          cloves garlic, minced
  • 1          leek, white part only, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 1/2    cups quartered artichoke hearts, frozen, canned or jarred
  • 1/2       cup dry white wine
  • 1/2       cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1          tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2       teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2          teaspoons butter
  • 3/4       cup green California grapes
  • 3/4       cup red California grapes
  • 2          tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, to taste. In saute pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken breasts and sear 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. Add remaining olive oil to pan, along with garlic, leek and pinch of salt; cook on medium heat 2-3 minutes to soften leek. Stir in oregano, artichokes, wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Simmer 2-3 minutes then add chicken back to pan, basting each breast with sauce. Add grapes and simmer 3-5 minutes, or until grapes are just soft and chicken is cooked through.
  3. Stir in fresh parsley and serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 26 g protein; 23 g carbohydrates; 12 g fat (34 percent calories from fat); 3 g saturated fat (8 percent calories from saturated fat); 70 mg cholesterol; 390 mg sodium; 5 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Healthy 07 August 2017

A Sweet Solution for Busy School Days

(Family Features) The busy pace of back-to-school schedules can make it feel like nearly every aspect of life has you under a time crunch. Fortunately, when it comes to feeding the family, there are some simple foods you likely already have on hand that can provide easy solutions for snacks and mealtime alike.

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A go-to fruit like California grapes is a fresh staple you can depend on because they are always ripe and ready to eat when you buy them. While grapes are indeed ideal for snacking because they hold, store and travel well, this healthy and delicious fruit is also a simple addition to meals throughout the day. Grapes require minimal preparation, so they’re equally easy as a side dish or as a fun way to deliver the fresh produce factor in a wide range of family-friendly recipes, such as these Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas.

Tips like these show how you can easily incorporate grapes into every meal:

Breakfast: A cup of creamy yogurt and crunchy granola takes on a sweet note when topped with a handful of grapes. Slice or quarter grapes then mix well for a medley of textures and flavors in every bite.

Morning snack: Pair grapes with cheese and crackers for a sweet and savory snack to keep your energy strong and your hunger in check until lunchtime.

Lunch: A handful of grapes can balance out a sandwich and add some sweet indulgence to the midday meal.

After school: Grapes offer hydration and quick energy so they’re the perfect way to fuel up for after school sports or to lend some extra brain power for study time.

Dinnertime rush: Use grapes for an easy side dish that goes with anything. A quick meal like grilled cheese and grapes brings out the kid in everyone.

Evening snack: Toward the end of the day, cravings can creep up but keeping a bowl of fresh grapes on hand for after dinner snacking helps avoid alternative salty, highly processed choices.

Find more great ideas for enjoying grapes throughout the day at grapesfromcalifornia.com.

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Grape and Ricotta Pita Pizzas

Servings: 4

  • 2          whole-wheat pita pocket breads (about 6 inches in diameter)
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2       cup part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1          cup seedless red or black California grapes, thinly sliced or halved
  • 2          teaspoons honey
  • 1          teaspoon lemon juice
  • 6          large or 12 small fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Slice pita pockets in half so each forms two rounds, creating four rounds total. Place pita rounds on baking sheets cut-side up and brush top of each with oil.
  3. Spread 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese on each pita, leaving about 1/2-inch border around edges then arrange sliced grapes in single layer on top of cheese. Bake until edges are crisped and cheese is warmed, 5-7 minutes.
  4. In small bowl, stir together honey and lemon juice until honey is dissolved.
  5. When pizzas are done, drizzle each with about 1/2 teaspoon honey-lemon mixture. Sprinkle basil on top of pizzas. Serve immediately.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Meal Ideas 29 June 2017

Easy Eating

(Family Features) Warmer weather has arrived and that means it’s salad season.

There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite. Change your warm-weather dining habits up a bit with this recipe for Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers. Easy to prepare, this deliciously unique salad on a skewer is perfect for entertaining family and friends.

The sweet-tangy, nutty, piquant and savory combination of ingredients provides layers of flavors in every forkful. One-bite Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets are just right for skewering with the mustard-marmalade glazed chicken and crisp romaine.

To finish, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cheese. Add a whole grain baguette and your meal is ready. For more warm-weather recipe ideas, visit AuntNellies.com.

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Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets, drained
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
  • salt, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade, plus 1/3 cup, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine pieces
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup crumbled firm white cheese (such as blue cheese, feta or goat)
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
  2. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons each of mustard and marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on aluminum foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.
  3. To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.
  4. Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread a beet, a piece of chicken and 4- 5 pieces of lettuce; repeat twice; add one beet at end. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter. Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.

Substitution: Whole pickled beets may be substituted. Cut beets in half.

Alternate preparation: To grill chicken, brush both sides with mustard-marmalade mixture. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and thermometer reads 165 F. If chicken cooks too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.

Nutritional information per serving: 255 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 440 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 2 g dietary fiber; 1 mg iron; .07 mg thiamin; 2,871 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.

Source: Aunt Nellie's

Meal Ideas 19 June 2017

Good Eats with Grapes

Make a heart-healthy menu with flavorful fruit

(Family Features) Heart-healthy foods can play a role in healthy aging. Whether you enjoy them by the handful as a refreshing snack or use them to add color, crunch and a touch of sweetness to a meal, grapes are a heart-healthy option that make eating better easy.

Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. At just 90 calories per serving, they also contain no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium.

With a juicy burst of flavor, grapes show how simple it can be to make good-for-you-dishes that also taste great. Even though California grapes are a snacking staple in most kitchens, you may not realize how versatile they can be for cooking. For example, grapes add a sweet touch to a crunchy yogurt salad and complement the bold spice on a skewer of grilled shrimp. Fresh, flavorful grapes even put a tangy, fresh twist on a soothing glass of iced tea.

Grapes and Brain Health

A grape-enriched diet helped protect against metabolic brain decline in Alzheimer’s-related areas of the brain, according to research from the University of California-Los Angeles. The pilot study, funded by the California Table Grape Commission, was conducted among people with early memory decline and showed that subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in cognition and working memory performance, according to a report published by Experimental Gerontology.

Find more delicious recipes to make healthy eating easy at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.

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Zahtar Shrimp and Grape Kabobs

Servings: 6

  • 2 tablespoons zahtar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 36-40 large shrimp (about 2 pounds), shelled and deveined
  • 1 cup whole green California grapes
  • 1 cup whole red California grapes
  1. In medium bowl, combine zahtar, garlic, thyme, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to combine. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Thread shrimp and grapes onto skewers. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high.
  3. Grill skewers, turning once, until shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through and grapes are caramelized but firm, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 20 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 6 g fat (28% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (5% calories from saturated fat); 180 mg cholesterol; 870 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

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Savory Yogurt with Grape and Cucumber Salad

Servings: 4
Dukkah:

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Yogurt:

  • 3 cups plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup green California grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup red California grapes, halved
  • 1 cup English cucumber, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons dukkah
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  1. To make dukkah: Heat oven to 350 F. Spread cashews and hazelnuts on baking sheet and toast 6-8 minutes. Transfer to food processor and set aside. In skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds until fragrant, 1-2 minutes, then transfer to food processor. Add dried thyme and salt. Pulse mixture until coarsely ground. Makes about 1 cup that can be stored in an airtight container.
  2. Divide yogurt into four 3/4-cup portions. In small bowl, combine grapes, cucumber, shallots, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Top each bowl of yogurt with 1/2 cup grape mixture, 1 tablespoon dukkah and sprinkle of lemon zest.

Nutritional information per serving: 220 calories; 19 g protein; 18 g carbohydrate; 8 g fat (33% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 10 mg cholesterol; 140 mg sodium; 2 g fiber.

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Sparkling Hibiscus Tea with Grapes and Mint

Servings: 8

  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 hibiscus tea bags
  • 2 cups green California grapes, divided
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 navel orange, sliced
  • ice
  • 16 ounces sparkling water
  1. Using tea kettle or saucepan, bring 3 cups water and honey to boil. Add tea bags, turn off heat and steep 6-8 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow remaining liquid to cool 15 minutes.
  2. In martini shaker or bowl, muddle 1 cup grapes with mint leaves. Add muddled grape and mint mixture to 48-60 ounce pitcher along with remaining water and orange slices. Stir in hibiscus tea mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Strain before serving.
  3. To serve, add ice to 8-ounce glass. Top with 3-4 grapes, 2 ounces sparkling water and hibiscus tea mixture.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 10 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

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